WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - This one might take a little getting used to for Washington basketball fans: heading into Monday night’s game, the Wizards not only had the best record in the NBA’s Eastern Conference; they had the second-best record in the entire league.
"They marvelous," fan James Williams said outside of Capital One Arena ahead of the game.
"I’m seeing it all over ESPN, all over the national media," added fan Julie Hanlon.
In other words, maybe this year is different than seasons past.
"A team like the Wizards, everybody says they can’t do this, they can’t do that," a third fan, Joe Johnson explained. "But they have people excited, man!"
ORLANDO, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 13: Montrezl Harrell #6 of the Washington Wizards celebrates a basket and a foul with teammates against the Orlando Magic during the second half at Amway Center on November 13, 2021 in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
The offseason trade that sent Russell Westbrook out for Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is looking good, as is the free-agent signing of Spencer Dinwiddie, and of course the play of returning players, including all-star Bradley Beal.
"I think they are playing with a cohesion that’s unlike what we saw last year," said Wizards Insider Quinton Mayo, who covers the team.
"The DMV area, they love basketball," he added. "The culture runs deep, especially through the grassroots program. So now that you have a team that can go out there and compete and also embrace the community like the community embraces them, it’s very important."
So the question becomes – can the Wiz keep winning? Every fan who spoke to FOX 5 ahead of Monday’s game said they believe that, yes, they can.
"Let’s go Wizards!" Johnson summed up. "Let’s go Wizards!"