Washington Wizards All Time Roster

STARTING LINEUP :

 

C. Wes Unseld

P.F. Elvin Hayes

S.F. Bob Dandridge

S.G. Earl Monroe

P.G. Gilbert Arenas

 

BENCH :

 

C. Walt Bellamy

P.F. Gus Johnson

S.F. Bernard King

S.G. Jeff Malone

P.G. Archie Clark

S.G. Phil Chenier

C. Jeff Ruland

CENTERS :

The starting center is obviously Wes Unseld. THE legend of the franchise. The one who led the team to their only ring. Unseld was never a big scorer in his NBA days. He was not even among the 8 best scorers of his team the year they won their ring (1978). Wes was a player à la Bill Russell. As a matter of fact, like Bill, Unseld showed that he could score when he had to, and was in fact a better scorer than people think he was (exactly like Russell) but with all the scorers Wes decided to focus on defense, rebounds and playmaking. Wes is one of the best defensive centers ever, one of the best rebounders, and maybe even more important, the best playmaker among the best centers ever. Or rather second best, behind the great Bill Russell. Bill and Wes were actually point centers. There is no big man in the history of the game that was a better passer than those two. At the exception maybe of Sabonis. Wes is one of the two players who were at the same time MVP and ROY the exact same year (the other was Chamberlain). And despite his lack of scoring the year the Wizards (Bullets at the time) won, he was still named Finals MVP. A legend. One of the players that had the most impact on his team without having to score huge numbers.

 

As his back up I picked Walt Bellamy. Walt was the first star of the team. He was actually even the first player ever drafted by that franchise. The team did not achieve much with Walt as the leader but he at least led them to their first playoffs ever. Multiple All Stars, he was actually All Star every year he played with that franchise (which was called the Chicago Packers in their first year in the league, and Chicago Zephyrs in their second before being moved to Baltimore where they bacame the Bullets and then later finally moved to Washington), he is one of the best centers in the history of the league.

 

POWER FORWARDS :

At PF I picked Elvin Hayes. One of the best PF/C of the history of the league. He was the best scorer of the team the year they won their ring. Multiple All Star, very good defender, Hayes is certainly the second best Wizard player ever.

 

I picked Gus Johnson as his back up. Fantastic player in his Wizards days, he was the leader of the team between the Bellamy era and the Monroe/Unseld era. He played a bit with the three players (a couple of years with Walt, four/five years with the other two). Good defender, multiple All Stars, he was one of the best big men at the time. And he was a part of the first Wizard team to ever make the Finals.

 

SMALL FORWARDS :

At SF I picked Bob Dandridge. He did not play long in Washington, four years, and he had his best days as a Buck but Bob still definitely deserves to be the starting SF. He was part of the team that won a ring (second best scorer behind Hayes) and still had some terrific years as a Wizard. Was even All Star in his Washington days.

(I could not find a video of Bob’s highlights so I picked this video of the game 7 of the 1978 Finals, won by the Wizards, in which Bob was the Bullets’ top scorer, with Charles Johnson, with 19 pts)

 

As his back up I picked Bernard King. Like Bob, Bernard played in Washington four years, and he had his best days as a Knick, but he still had some terrific years as a Wizard, and is clearly, with Dandridge, the best SF that this team ever had.

 

SHOOTING GUARDS :

The starting SG is Earl Monroe. Earl The Pearl is a fantastic, amazing player, one of those players who revolutionized the SG position. He only played in Washington (well Baltimore at the time) for the first four years of his career, but those four years are the best of his career. And he was a part of the first Wizards team to ever make it to the Finals.

 

As his back up I picked Jeff Malone. Jeff definitely had the best years of his career in Washington. He was one of the very best Wizards players of the second part of the 80’s, he was even All Star twice during his Washington days. And he formed with Moses Malone and Bernard King one of the best big three that this franchise ever had.

 

POINT GUARDS :

 

At PG I picked Gilbert Arenas. Clearly the best player that the franchise had since they changed their name to « Wizards » (because « Bullets » was a too violent name…) in 1997. Very exciting player, one of the most clutch players I ever seen play, especially in this unbelievable 2007 season, in which he hit more clutch shots than ever. It’s just too bad that multiple injuries, and the « gun incident » hurt his career so much and forced the Wizards to trade him to Orlando.

 

It was hard to pick a back up, the Wizards did not have many great PGs. And their best ones did not stay very long in the team. A case could be made for players like Michael Adams or Rod Strickland, but I eventually picked Archie Clark. Archie was a combo guard and only played three years with that franchise, but he was PG most of the time and had three amazing years with the team. Was even All Star, All NBA 2nd and best scorer of the team during the 72 season.

(I could not find a video of Clark’s highlights so I picked this video of the 72 NBA vs ABA All Star Game in which Archie played)

 

11th & 12th SPOTS :

For the last two spots, many players could be mentioned. Even Michael Jordan. He only played two years in Washington but at least had a chance to prove that he was the best 40 years old player ever in Washington. And he did. But honestly two years is just not enough, especially that when he came back he bet that he would lead the Wizards back to the playoffs and… even if this come back can be considered as a success, he still lost that bet. So that is why I did not mentioned him in that roster. Moses Malone is another great player that played with that team but the team did not accomplish many things when he was there, he only stayed two years and he was beginning to get out of his prime… Can’t be mentioned here as well. So anyway I eventually picked Phil Chenier and Jeff Ruland. Phil Chenier was one of the very best Wizards players in the 70’s, he was a multiple All Star and was a part of that fantastic 78 team.

 (I could not find a video of Phil’s highlights so I picked this funny video of him and his broadcast partner Steve Buckhantz (as a matter of fact Phil is now a television sports broadcaster for the Wizards) from a few years ago)

 

And Jeff Ruland was one of the best player of the team in the 80’s. He was the best scorer of the team twice, formed with Jeff Malone and Gus Williams a very enticing big three.

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