Maybe there's something in the water along the Southeastern Coast of the United States.
For the second straight season, the Southeast Division houses the NBA's worst franchise. A season ago, the Charlotte Bobcats posted the worst winning percentage in league history (.106). This season, the Washington Wizards have picked up where the Bobcats left off by losing each of their first 12 games.
John Wall (the first pick in the 2010 draft and subsequent face of the franchise) has yet to make his 2012-13 debut, as he's still rehabbing from a stress injury to his left patella tendon. According to Craig Stouffer of The Washington Examiner, Wizards coach Randy Wittman said there is no timetable for Wall's return.
With veterans Nene, Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor all added to the club in the past calendar year, the Wizards appeared to be further from rebuilding than their record would indicate. But with six of their top nine rotation players 26 years old or younger, it's hard to classify this team as anything but.
Washington fans have found little to cheer about over the year's first 12 games. Nene's return (the big man missed the first nine games with a foot injury) has been the de facto high point in a season of lows.
For those fans hoping for a diversion outside of mock drafts and draft lottery countdowns, perhaps the best pastime will be reviewing the Wizards schedule searching for a winnable game.
This week offers little reprieve with a home game against Portland, followed by a trip to Madison Square Garden to take on the New York Knicks. Next week gets no easier with home games against the Miami Heat and the Golden State Warriors sandwiched around a road trip to Atlanta.
Their November 28 home game with Portland is the likeliest candidate of this block of games, but the Trail Blazers' starting five is quietly one of the league's best units. Considering that Portland has an off day before the game and another following it, coach Terry Stotts can ride that starting five as long as needed.
The following week brings road games at New Orleans, Houston and Miami along with a home game against the Los Angles Lakers. Here is their first real chance to enter the win column. New Orleans and Houston are a combined 10-16 and 6-7 at home. But if the Hornets' shooters get hot and James Harden (25.2 points per game) and Chandler Parsons (15.5) continue their stellar play in Houston, Washington could pass December's midpoint without a win to show for it.
Luckily (if that's what you can call it), the next week offers a slew of winnable games. After a home matchup with Atlanta on December 18, the Hornets travel to Orlando then play a home-and-away series with Detroit. If the Wizards can't find a win against the Magic, there's no way they go winless in back-to-back meetings with the Pistons.
For the sake of making a prediction, I'll wager my bets on that home matchup with Detroit on December 22. That would put Washington with an all-time worst losing streak to open a season—24 games stretched over a nearly two-month period.
There's a great chance they steal a game or two before that home meeting with Detroit. But their league worst minus-6.54 scoring differential (which doesn't include their 26-point loss to the Spurs on Monday) suggests that even that game is far from a guarantee.
Maybe Wizards fans would be better off going back to those mock draft boards. How does Shabazz Muhammad sound, Wizards fan?
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