Washington Wizards

Tue, 10 Feb 2009 19:10

History of Washington Wizards

Information about the NBA team Washington Wizards.


The team that is now called "Washington Wizards" started as Chicago Packers during the 1961-62 NBA season. The season after that, they were called the Zephyrs. During their first season in Baltimore, the Bullets (another name they had after the Packers) ended fourth place in the Western division side.

Before the 64-65 season, they made a jaw-dropping trade, sending Rod Thorn, Terry Dischinger, and Don Kojis to the Pistons in exchange for Wali Jones, Bob Ferry, Don Ohl, and Bailey Howell. This trade turned out okay for them. For the 1965 playoffs, they defeated the St. Louis Hawks, advancing to the Western conference Finals match. They lost the series to the Lakers.

Washington Wizards history: sixties and seventies

The Wizards, who were then known as the Baltimore Bullets, drafted Earl Monroe and Wes Unseld and things changed in a major way. They upped the previous 36 wins to 57 in the 1968-69 season. Unseld got the Rookie of the Year honors plus the MVP award. When they reached the playoffs, the fans held their breath, but were then disappointed as the Knicks crushed the Wizards.

For the 1970-71 season, the Bullets then met the Knicks again, this time via the East Conference Finals, and this time, they had revenge. They advanced to their first NBA Finals. It was a mismatch as the Milwaukee Bucks demolished them in four outings. They would then meet the Knicks in the Playoffs of 1973, but the New York squad won.

When 1973 came, they moved to Maryland, and the name changed again. They were then called Capital Bullets. They became the Washington Bullets the following year.

They entered the 1975 Playoffs and in that year, they posted a 35-5 home record. At the very first round of the playoffs, they won over the Buffalo Braves. At the East Conference finals, the team defeated the much-touted Celtics in six games. They advanced to the Finals- to meet the Golden State Warriors. They were the favorites but the Warriors humiliated them by sweeping four games in the series.

During the 1976-77 season, they had a new coach in the person of Dick Motta. They fell short of a Central Division title. In the 1977-78 season, they had their fifteen mnutes of fame. They faced the Seattle Supersonics, and it was a very long game. They crushed the Supersonics in seven games to give Washington DC a sports championship, the first in more than 30 years.

Washington Wizards history: 1989-97

They started with a five to one run in 1989, but then all joy turned to sorrow when they lost sixteen of eighteen games. The end result would be a 31-51 card, inspite of good showing from Bernard King and Jeff Malone.

When 1991 came, the Wizards would have Susan O'Malley as the franchise and team's president, the first female to hold the position in the league's history. They got 25-57 during the 1991-92 season, then had 22-60 in the 1992-93 season. This was due to injuries and much inconsistency in action.

They chose Juwan Howard in the Draft of 1994, then let go of Tom Gugliotta. The trade involved Gugliotta with three first round draft picks to Golden State, along with rights for Chris Webber who would get injured a short time later.

In the 1995-96 season after Webber's injury, they had a record of 9-6 with Webber playing. He managed an average of  23.7 points, 7.5 rebounds, five assists, and 1.8 steals. They struggled at the beginning of the 1996-97 season, even if they had the tallest athlete in the league (Muresan). This led to the termination of the head coach, Jim Lynam, and BernieBickerstaff was declared as the replacement.

They improved with a 44-38 record, and they advanced to the playoffs. In a winner-gets-8th-playoff position game against the Cavaliers, the Washinton team won by just 4 points.

The Wizards moved to MCI center on 1997. When they changed the name to Wizards, some controversies came out. The term wizard, according to some, is a Ku Klux Klan rank. In 1998, they were declared as a brother team to the Mystics of WNBA.

Washington Wizards history: late nineties

For the 1997-98 season, they finished with a card of 42-40. Webber was still a force to reckon with, with a scoring profile of 21.9 ppg, rebounding at 9.5 rpg. In 1998 however, Webber got traded to the Sacramento Kings. The latter released Otis Thorpe and Richmond. In 2001, they did another blockbuster transaction. They let go of Booth, Ekezie, and Juwan to Mavericks' fold. What they got are three million dolalrs, Etan Thomas, Loy Vaught, Christian Laettner, Courtney Alexander, and Hubert Davis.

Washington Wizards history: the "big man" comes in

When Michael Jordan retired in 1999, he became the Washington Wizards' top man for operations. In September 2001, Jordan came out of "being retired" to play for the team. Prior to the All-Star break, he was just 1 of 2 players that averaged above 25 points. Jordan however was no longer as "strong" as he used to be. His knee gave in and he entered the injured roster.

He said he would be back for the 2002-03 season, and Jordan even fulfilled a sixth man position. At the end of the year, the team ended with a 37-45 record. When this season was done, the majority owner terminated Jordan as the team's president. Jordan on his part felt betrayed, and minus this superstar in the following season, the Wizards were not among the favorites. The team landed to a tear-inducing 25-57 record for the 2003-04 season.

Washington Wizards history: 2005-06

In April of 2006, they were in good standing with a 39-35 record, but then, Caron got a thumb sprain. The Wizards suffered all of 5 games. They got a playoff seat, to face Cleveland in a 1st round battle.

They split the 1st two outings, and on the 3rd Game, the Cavs got a hard win (just one point). Wizards won Game 4, but in the next two games, the Cavs took the victories.

Washington Wizards history: 2006-07 season Onwards

The Wizards started out well, and they got the services of Darius Songaila and DeShawn Stevenson. They began everything with 0-8, but they regrouped for a 6-7. They went for a 22-9 record through December to January. And on December 17, Arenas made a record as he scored sixty points versus the Lakers. They managed to reach the eastern conference playoffs, but then they got swept 4-0 versus by the Cleveland Cavaliers.

For the 2007-08 season, they retained a majority of the team's members. They began everything with a 0-5, but then made up for it by winning six consecutive games. Then, Arenas had to undergo surgery for a left knee condition. Then, it was Butler's turn as he was forced to merely watch his teammates due to a labral condition, which at first he thought was just a negligible condition.

In the 2008-09 season, they held on to 2 of their strengths: Jamison and Arenas. The latter signed a six-year deal for $111 million, while Jamison got a four-year contract worth $50 million.