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Comparing the 2020-21 Wizards to the 2016-17 Wizards

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Comparing the 2020-21 Wizards to the 2016-17 Wizards 

Post#1 » by nate33 » Fri Oct 16, 2020 1:17 pm

This came up in a conversation between PIF, pcbothwel, and dcKingsfan on the trade thread, but I thought it might be an interesting topic to discuss in this long offseason. In a best case scenario, how do the 2020-21 Wizards compare with the most successful Wizards team in recent memory, the 2016-17 Wizards?

Many of the elements are similar.

There's Wall and Beal. Wall this year will presumably be somewhat worse than the 2017 version, but Beal is better, so that may be a wash.

Both teams have a ridiculously accurate sharpshooting forward. Bertans is an even better shooter than Porter (when factoring his range, quicker release, and ability to shoot with the defender close), but Porter was the much more well rounded player - a decent man defender and a very good help defender.

Interestingly, while I assumed that Hachimura would be the weak link in this comparison, it turns out he is actually quite similar to Markieff Morris statistically per 100 possessions. Morris is a better 3-point shooter and a slightly better rebounder, but Hachimura turns it over less and fouls less. If Rui brings his 3-point percentage up and makes the expected improvements in D you typically see in a 2nd year player, he might actually be better than Morris. Of course, that's damning with faint praise.
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Bryant versus Gortat is interesing. Offensively, Bryant is better at everything statistically, though it's difficult to quantify how important Gortat's screening was. Gortat is the better rebounder and defender, but Bryant could approach Gortat's level as he figures the game out. It's not like Gortat was a fearsome rim protector or anything. He was just a big guy who knew where to be and what to do.

The 2016-17 bench featured Bogdanovic (before he made a jump in production), Oubre (as a relatively ineffective 2nd year player), a rookie Satoransky who couldn't shoot at all and hadn't really figured out the NBA game, and Jason Smith having arguably his best season as a pro. There was a parade of ineffective backup PG's with Brandon Jennings, Trey Burke and Sheldon Mac.

The 2020-21 bench will feature Troy Brown, Ish Smith, Isaac Bonga, and our #9 pick, plus probably a veteran big they acquire in free agency. They've got nobody as good as Bogdanovic as a 6th man, but they may be better 7 through 10. (I realize that they may start Bonga and bring Bertans off the bench, but I think it makes sense to compare the teams assuming Bertans is starting since he will ultimately play starter's minutes.)
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Re: Comparing the 2020-21 Wizards to the 2016-17 Wizards 

Post#2 » by Frichuela » Fri Oct 16, 2020 1:55 pm

One factor to consider is how relatively lucky we were with injuries in the 2016-17 season.

If we have similar luck, resign Bertans and Wall gets to at least 80% of what he produced then maybe we get to +45 wins...

The upside (though unlikely scenario) is if on top of that we nail the #9 draft pick (Okongwu?) and get some FA help (Craig/Jones?) that exceed expectations..
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Re: Comparing the 2020-21 Wizards to the 2016-17 Wizards 

Post#3 » by pcbothwel » Fri Oct 16, 2020 2:10 pm

Thanks Nate. This is really an interesting discussion.
Outside of the Box Score stats, I'll say we are clearly younger, longer, deeper and more athletic. I think our play style will be more conducive to success than that 16-17 team.

Like you said, I actually think Wall/Beal will be comparable to almost a wash. And I have faith in Bryant/Rui/Brown/Bertans/MLE being better than Gortat/Kieff/Oubre/Bojan/Smith... And I think by a considerable margin.

So the wild card is Otto. Thats where Bonga & 9 need to stay afloat.

BTW... We won 49 games (60%) games in 16/17. The Heat this year also won 60% of their regular season games. Not apples to apples, but we shouldn't dismiss this evaluation.
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Re: Comparing the 2020-21 Wizards to the 2016-17 Wizards 

Post#4 » by Shoe » Fri Oct 16, 2020 2:23 pm

Mahinmi is gone. So Wall, Beal, Ish will be leading the young locker room. It will honestly be very interesting to see how Wall and Beal handle it. Mahinmi was apparently very respected and kept things light hearted for all those international guys.
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Re: Comparing the 2020-21 Wizards to the 2016-17 Wizards 

Post#5 » by nate33 » Fri Oct 16, 2020 2:30 pm

pcbothwel wrote:Outside of the Box Score stats, I'll say we are clearly younger, longer, deeper and more athletic. I think our play style will be more conducive to success than that 16-17 team.

The 20-21 team is longer and younger, but are they more athletic? Wall will be a step slower. Porter is more athletic than Bertans. Gortat is probably a bit more mobile than Bryant. The only position where they are demonstrably more athletic is at PF with Hachimura over Morris. But Morris had very good feet even if he wasn't really a leaper, so the true disparity is pretty small.

And I think their lack of experience will be more of a disadvantage than the quick leaping of our young players will be an advantage. For the 20-21 team to catch up to the 16-17 team defensively, it will take a massive leap in defensive understanding from both Bryant and Hachimura (or the highly unlikely scenario that our draft pick is an excellent defender in his rookie year). While it's possible, I'm not holding my breath. Neither Bryant nor Hachimura have demonstrated intuitive defensive instincts so far in their careers.
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Re: Comparing the 2020-21 Wizards to the 2016-17 Wizards 

Post#6 » by wall_glizzy » Fri Oct 16, 2020 5:29 pm

nate33 wrote:Bryant versus Gortat is interesing. Offensively, Bryant is better at everything statistically, though it's difficult to quantify how important Gortat's screening was. Gortat is the better rebounder and defender, but Bryant could approach Gortat's level as he figures the game out. It's not like Gortat was a lethal rim protector or anything. He was just a big guy who knew where to be and what to do.


The NBA player tracking stats actually do include screen assists (in the "hustle" category). Per 36 minutes, 2016-2017 Gortat had 7.1, resulting in 15.7 points, and 2019-2020 Bryant had 5.5, resulting in 12.6.

Of course, screens don't exist solely to generate a shot for the current ballhandler, but that's the number we have!

My only other comment is that even if we're able to convince ourselves that the 2020-2021 Wizards are as good as or better than the 2016-2017 ones - or at least that each player on next year's team has a 2016-2017 analogue that they are "better" than - there's still the question of how the Eastern Conference, and the league at large, have changed/improved in the last few years. I'm not sure that we can assume that the 2016-2017 team, time warped into this past season, would win at the same rate.
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Re: Comparing the 2020-21 Wizards to the 2016-17 Wizards 

Post#7 » by payitforward » Fri Oct 16, 2020 7:52 pm

Great thread!!

On your comparison between Otto & Davis:

1. Amazingly, Otto i 2016-17 & Davis this year had the exact same TS% -- down to the 1/10 of a percent: 62.8%
2. All the same, Davis was the superior scorer, as he posted that number on over 20% higher usage. Thus per 40 minutes, he scored 4.6 more points on 3.5 more possessions
3. OTOH, Otto was way, way better on ball possession stats: rebounds plus steals minus turnovers -- he was +9. Davis was +5.5.
4. Overall, Otto's 16-17 season was significantly better than Davis' season this year. I.e. if you include those ball possession stats, the effect of Davis's extra 4.6 points came at the actual cost of 8.1 extra possessions.
5. Otto also played over 1000 more minutes that year than Davis played this year, magnifying the effect of his high level of play. Of course, Davis may well play more this coming season. But, it's unlikely he'll reach the over 2600 minutes Otto played back then.

In short, Davis & Otto were equally efficient shooters, but the rest of what Otto did way better than Davis put his season well beyond what Davis did for us.
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Re: Comparing the 2020-21 Wizards to the 2016-17 Wizards 

Post#8 » by payitforward » Fri Oct 16, 2020 8:08 pm

I just looked at Rui's numbers vs. Kieff in 16-17 -- there's no question that Rui was significantly better. That is, as you point out, "damning with faint praise," but it is unquestionable all the same. In a team comparison, I'd say it doesn't hold much information, b/c neither was good at all. Obviously, however, Rui has potential -- no one would take Kieff in trade for Rui!

It's a little harder between Bryant & Gortat -- the position itself has changed, plus these two guys are so very different in any case. Bryant's numbers are significantly better overall, but if you take away his 3-point shooting entirely (points & attempts), the 2 guys are virtually identical. Yet... Bryant shot the 3-ball at 40.7%! That's a big plus! So, you have to conclude overall that Bryant is a plus over Gortat -- & if you figure in his youth... all the moreso.

edit -- make that a plus for Bryant going forward. But, overall it was too close to call for the the season comparison I've done.
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Re: Comparing the 2020-21 Wizards to the 2016-17 Wizards 

Post#9 » by pcbothwel » Fri Oct 16, 2020 8:22 pm

PIF.. Agreed on Otto, though you could combine Bonga + Bertans and get about the same Total minutes as Otto and have an interesting Comp due to Bonga's efficiency and defense.
As for Rui (And Otto, Brown, Bryant), we can only go by what they did last year... But I think another year together in conjunction with their youth and better supporting cast lend me to believe we'll see quite an improvement.
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Re: Comparing the 2020-21 Wizards to the 2016-17 Wizards 

Post#10 » by DCZards » Fri Oct 16, 2020 8:27 pm

Shoe wrote:Mahinmi is gone. So Wall, Beal, Ish will be leading the young locker room. It will honestly be very interesting to see how Wall and Beal handle it. Mahinmi was apparently very respected and kept things light hearted for all those international guys.

T. Brown began to emerge as a leader amongst the youngins' during the time spent in the bubble. He was more assertive and vocal...something Brooks reportedly urged him to be.
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Re: Comparing the 2020-21 Wizards to the 2016-17 Wizards 

Post#11 » by nate33 » Fri Oct 16, 2020 8:30 pm

payitforward wrote:5. Otto also played over 1000 more minutes that year than Davis played this year, magnifying the effect of his high level of play. Of course, Davis may well play more this coming season. But, it's unlikely he'll reach the over 2600 minutes Otto played back then.


Don't discount the effects of the shortened season and Bertans sitting out due to his impending free agency. Bertans averaged 29.3 minutes per game and played in 95% of the available games until the lockdown. Porter averaged 32.6 minutes per game and played in 97% of the available games. So we're talking about a difference of about 300 minutes if Bertans can manage the same workload this year.

payitforward wrote:In short, Davis & Otto were equally efficient shooters, but the rest of what Otto did way better than Davis put his season well beyond what Davis did for us.

I agree that Porter was the better player. He was really freaking good that year. But I do think Bertans is better than his individual box score stats due to the intangibles his spacing provides; and that reduces the overall disparity between the two players a bit. There's no need to rehash that argument though.

I don't expect this current team to win 49 games. I do think they can win in the low 40's with reasonable health. They were on a 31-win pace before tanking during the bubble, and I think inserting John Wall in place of the worst starter in the league (Isaiah Thomas) will boost the win total by 8-10 wins. Incremental improvement from Hachimura, Bryant, Brown and Bonga will tack on a couple more wins. The roster loses practically nothing from the guys departing. McRae and Mahinmi each had a few stretches where they contributed, but I think other guys (Wagner, Mathews, our draft pick) will emerge to fill those minutes when needed.
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Re: Comparing the 2020-21 Wizards to the 2016-17 Wizards 

Post#12 » by payitforward » Fri Oct 16, 2020 8:58 pm

Here's the place where the comparison is hardest. Wall, Beal, Porter & Gortat were responsible for something like 42 of our 49 wins that year. They played 10,680 minutes. In particular, Porter was absolutely tremendous both that year & the following year -- it's easy to forget that those 2 years are why the team gave him a max contract!

In fact, that last sentence should do to seal the deal on any comparison of Bertans & Porter. We're not trying to decide whether to give Davis a max contract, are we?

Now, replace Wall then with Wall now, Beal then with Beal now, & Porter & Gortat with Bertans & Bryant. Guess what? With 3 of thosse guys this year, we had a 30-win season.

Now turn to the rest of the roster in those two years. Back then, the rest of the roster was... a mixed up mess! Mostly -- not entirely, but mostly -- it was a bunch of guys with no future who had already failed to develop: Nicholson, Kieff, Mahinmi, Smith, McClellan, Jennings, Thornton, House, Ochefu, Burke.... A typical Ernie effort of, as he used to call them, "pieces."

What we have now is Wall & Beal & a bunch of young players who make up a rebuilding team. Plus Davis if we keep him. Whether we still regard Beal & Wall as the heart of the team or we don't regard them that way -- the future of the team is still about those young players, the guys we draft this year, & a continuing youth movement.

That doesn't change just because Tommy Sheppard says different. Reality is reality, & marketing decisions are a different matter entirely. They don't change reality.

So, it's hard to compare these teams meaningfully. At least that's how it seems to me. What am I missing?
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Re: Comparing the 2020-21 Wizards to the 2016-17 Wizards 

Post#13 » by payitforward » Fri Oct 16, 2020 9:58 pm

pcbothwel wrote:PIF.. Agreed on Otto, though you could combine Bonga + Bertans and get about the same Total minutes as Otto and have an interesting Comp due to Bonga's efficiency and defense....

I love Bonga. I liked him in the '18 draft, & I like him more now. I think he's going to be a really good player. But, no, man, no. We can't make some amalgam of Bertans & Bonga & make it look anything like Otto Porter's tip top best year.

pcbothwel wrote:As for Rui (And Otto, Brown, Bryant), we can only go by what they did last year... But I think another year together in conjunction with their youth and better supporting cast lend me to believe we'll see quite an improvement.

How'd you get Otto back on the team!! :)

I'm very positive on Thomas Bryant & Troy Brown. Brown is a terrific prospect -- incredibly young & already significantly improved. I hope for him to become a truly outstanding NBA player in the next few years. As to Bryant, I think he's a tremendous prospect too. There's work to do, & maybe there are some defensive limitations that won't be overcome easily, but even with those I still think he's a great prospect: I wouldn't rule out an All Star game for Thomas Bryant.

Rui is just a big question mark. So far, he hasn't been good. Period. He hasn't looked like bust who can't play in the league -- not saying that! But, he hasn't looked good. I'll be surprised if he doesn't have a better 2d year better than his rookie year. Disappointed too.

But, being "better" is not the same as being "good." As soon as he's actually good, then continuing improvement will begin to mean more. If it happens.

But, none of this -- even with the most optimistic results -- amounts to saying we'll be a good team in the coming season. It would require a miracle -- more than one! -- for that to become true.

Right now, we have 6 players who really matter to the Wizards: Wall, Beal, Bryant, Brown, Bonga & Rui. We also have an interesting question mark in Garrison Mathews. 4 other guys (Wagner, Robinson, Schofield & Pasecniks) haven't shown they can play in the slightest. I'd trade Wagner for any R2 pick in this draft. I'd let Pasecniks option go without a second thought. I'd be shocked if we could get anything at all for Robinson. I'd waive Schofield & eat his salary so that he can get on with his life, because NBA player is not something he is going to be.

6 guys. That's it. Maybe 7 if we are lucky in Mathews. & we have a solid chance to re-sign Bertans. If so, 8. We also have a veteran journeyman in Ish Smith. He's not core to the team, but he'll be there this year. Plus, we have 2 draft picks. If they're both players, & if Mathews is a hit, & if we re-sign Bertans -- that's 10 guys plus Ish for a year.

I'd call that a rebuilding team.
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Re: Comparing the 2020-21 Wizards to the 2016-17 Wizards 

Post#14 » by payitforward » Fri Oct 16, 2020 11:38 pm

nate33 wrote:
payitforward wrote:5. Otto also played over 1000 more minutes that year than Davis played this year, magnifying the effect of his high level of play. ....

Don't discount the effects of the shortened season...

Oh, duh! :)
nate33 wrote:...Bertans averaged 29.3 minutes per game and played in 95% of the available games until the lockdown. Porter averaged 32.6 minutes per game and played in 97% of the available games. So we're talking about a difference of about 300 minutes if Bertans can manage the same workload this year.

You're right -- & no reason he wouldn't be able to.
payitforward wrote:In short, Davis & Otto were equally efficient shooters, but the rest of what Otto did way better than Davis put his season well beyond what Davis did for us.

nate33 wrote:...I agree that Porter was the better player. He was really freaking good that year. But I do think Bertans is better than his individual box score stats due to the intangibles his spacing provides; and that reduces the overall disparity between the two players a bit. There's no need to rehash that argument though....

Of course, Otto also shot enough 3s & well enough that he too would have provided some spacing-based intangibles.

In any case, I'm not down on Bertans. I like the idea of re-signing him. I would certainly have taken a R1 pick for him at the deadline, but that doesn't mean I'd be happy to see him gone & we get nothing out of it -- far from it.

nate33 wrote:I don't expect this current team to win 49 games. I do think they can win in the low 40's with reasonable health. They were on a 31-win pace before tanking during the bubble, and I think inserting John Wall in place of the worst starter in the league (Isaiah Thomas) will boost the win total by 8-10 wins.

Oh no.... You are really going to laugh at me. I'd forgotten all about IT !! No joke! I can't believe it....

If, say, Napier had played IT's minutes, it's pretty clear that we'd have been about 3 games better.

In addition, Miles, Jerome Robinson, Wagner, Schofield & Pasecniks also combined to play 2300 awful minutes that cost us wins. If someone at Shabazz's level of production (below average journeyman) at each of their positions had played those minutes, we might have been another 3-4 games better.

Of course, we still have Robinson, Wagner & Schofield on the team, so....

nate33 wrote:Incremental improvement from Hachimura, Bryant, Brown and Bonga will tack on a couple more wins. The roster loses practically nothing from the guys departing. McRae and Mahinmi each had a few stretches where they contributed, but I think other guys (Wagner, Mathews, our draft pick) will emerge to fill those minutes when needed.

If Bryant simply plays at the level of his 2018-9 season, it will do that & more (depending on minutes). If he improves, all the moreso -- especially as he'll get more minutes. Wagner, however, will really have to develop if he's going to add rather than subtract from our win total.

Brown & Bonga seem very likely to continue improving if only b/c they already did once. Rui, we'll have to wait.

I hate to say this, but I may have to rethink my sense of how much we may improve.... Could we get to 40 wins?
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Re: Comparing the 2020-21 Wizards to the 2016-17 Wizards 

Post#15 » by Dat2U » Sat Oct 17, 2020 7:48 pm

That Wizards team was top heavy. 4 quality players: Wall, Beal, Porter, Gortat.... the rest were trash so the standard isn't overwhelmingly high. Markieff had one good stretch for a month and we were nearly unbeatable for that stretch but he went back to being his normal trash self by the allstar break. I believe we were .500 team from that point on.

Wall's effort & jumper will determine if he's a less athletic but smarter more efficient version of himself which would be great. The signs so far are good but of course no one will know until he actually plays.

Beal has certainly raised his on the ball game and can do more of the heavy lifting offensively which takes the burden off Wall being the guy defenses game planned for. So if Wall is willing to play off the ball, he could really take advantage of it in a secondary role. It is a very nice benefit to have two equally dynamic guys who can create on the ball. That can be very hard for defenses to prepare for. Not many teams can claim to have two guys like that.

Beyond Wall's return the biggest question is the defense of the front court. Hachimura/Bertans aren't much worse than Markieff on that end but they are bad. Bryant tries but can't cover up anyone's mistakes. Markieff/Gortat defense wasn't strength but neither were complete turnstiles either. Bertans gives us Otto's spacing and more attempts offensively which is great. Offensively we look to be better than the 16-17 team. Defensively its worse.

I'd say this team is a good defensive C away from being more than just a late lottery team or first round fodder for the contenders. Bonga develops or we land a quality wing as well then you can start talking about a finals run.

How I currently view the roster from a contending viewpoint:

Wall, T. Brown Jr., I. Smith
Beal, XXX, J. Robinson/Mathews
XXX, Bonga, XXX
Bertans, Hachimura, J. Williams/Schofield
XXX, Bryant, Wagner

The XXXs represent holes that need to be filled.

I do this every year to help get a clear idea of how far away are we. IMO we are 2 quality starters and rotation player away from contending if Wall comes back close to the player he was.

I'm a little unsure of TBJ at backup PG but I'd give him a look there. Ish is a decent safety net. Wouldnt be against drafting another PG and either sliding TBJ back to the wing or moving him.

I don't trust J. Robinson but he did look like the best defender on the wing outside of Bonga. I wish he jumpshot was as legit as scouts said it was. Mathews looks interesting but I need to see what he can do long stretches before saying he's a rotation guy.

Bonga seems like the cleanest fit as 5th option in a lineup. He's the best wing defender and I see some scenarios where he starts. Its not ideal but he knows his role, works hard and isn't unskilled so he's not like he's a self check (like Jared Jeffries was or Michael Ruffin).

I like the idea of Hachimura being a shot creator off the bench when scoring is needed. I think he can take advantage of less athletic 4s with his face up game and aggressiveness. I prefer Bertans in the starting lineup for his ability off-the-ball and stretch the floor for Wall/Beal. I expect alot of offensive production from the 4 spot. I'm hoping these guys are our 3rd and 4th options.

Bryant would be fine as a efficient, high energy backup but also expensive. Getting a cheaper option in the backup slot while also getting a starter makes alot of sense. Wagner is a wreck on defense so he's either 3rd string or needs to be somewhere else.
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Re: Comparing the 2020-21 Wizards to the 2016-17 Wizards 

Post#16 » by dckingsfan » Sun Oct 18, 2020 4:29 pm

⬆️⬆️⬆️⬆️⬆️ Well done...

My take is it is about the best three players. Wall < 2016; Beal > 2016; Anyone else < Porter.

Add to that the east is stronger and the league is better. So, I don't think we get the same win total.
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Re: Comparing the 2020-21 Wizards to the 2016-17 Wizards 

Post#17 » by doclinkin » Sun Oct 18, 2020 4:44 pm

dckingsfan wrote:⬆️⬆️⬆️⬆️⬆️ Well done...

My take is it is about the best three players. Wall < 2016; Beal > 2016; Anyone else < Porter.

Add to that the east is stronger and the league is better. So, I don't think we get the same win total.


One factor being overlooked:

Tommy >>> Ernie MF Grunfeld
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Re: Comparing the 2020-21 Wizards to the 2016-17 Wizards 

Post#18 » by dckingsfan » Sun Oct 18, 2020 5:59 pm

doclinkin wrote:
dckingsfan wrote:⬆️⬆️⬆️⬆️⬆️ Well done...

My take is it is about the best three players. Wall < 2016; Beal > 2016; Anyone else < Porter.

Add to that the east is stronger and the league is better. So, I don't think we get the same win total.

One factor being overlooked:

Tommy >>> Ernie MF Grunfeld

So this... which means we could get someone good in the draft. And one thing I didn't say, one of the youngsters could bust out.
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Re: Comparing the 2020-21 Wizards to the 2016-17 Wizards 

Post#19 » by prime1time » Sun Oct 18, 2020 7:00 pm

We really need to wait and see how they play. We haven't seen Wall in 2 years. Anyone's answer is just a guess...
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Re: Comparing the 2020-21 Wizards to the 2016-17 Wizards 

Post#20 » by TGW » Sun Oct 18, 2020 8:04 pm

Both teams suck. The fact that it's worth making a new thread about this tells you how much this franchise stinks.

Sorry...I'm drunk in Mexico. Excuse my poor attempt at a constructive post.
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