- NBA Championships: 1
- Last NBA Championship: 1979
- Claim to Fame: The Wizards (then known as the Packers) were the first expansion team in NBA history.
- Claim to Shame: The Wizards made news for all the wrong reasons in 2015 when Javaris Crittenton threatened Gilbert Arenas with a loaded handgun in the team’s locker room. Both players were suspended for the remainder of the season and never played another game with the franchise.
Few NBA teams have bounced around more than the Washington Wizards, who sprung into existence in 1961 as the Chicago Packers and enjoyed their greatest years in Baltimore as the erstwhile Bullets. It was there, playing in front of adoring crowds in Charm City, that the club reached the NBA Finals for the first time in 1971, promptly getting swept by the Milwaukee Bucks.
The franchise headed down the highway to Landover in 1974 and, within a year, were rechristened the Washington Bullets. They flourished in their new location and won their first – and only – NBA championship in 1978 thanks to big-time contributions from Hall of Fame pivot Wes Unsled. The Bullets returned to the Finals the following year, but were overpowered by the high-scoring Seattle SuperSonics.
Washington fell upon hard times in the ensuing years and made the playoffs just once from 1989 to 2004. Injuries and bad luck were party to blame, but the team also drafted poorly and went through 11 different head coaches over a particularly disastrous 11-year span.
The Wizards have finally found some consistency under Scott Brooks, who has led Washington to the playoffs twice in his two years on the bench. Brooks did an especially masterful job last season, guiding the team to 43 wins and second place in the Southeast Division despite being without the services of All-Star point guard John Wall for 41 games.
Wall is back to full health once again and will be joined in Washington this season by three-time Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard. D12 averaged 16.6 points and 12.5 rebounds per game last season in Charlotte and should help improve Washington’s 15th ranked defensive rating by leaps and bounds.