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NBA: All-Time Starting 5 Of the Washington Wizards

John Wall and Bradley Beal
John Wall and Bradley Beal

The Washington Wizards is one of the oldest teams in the NBA, starting in 1961 as the Chicago Packers. After just a season, the Packers changed their name to the Chicago Zephyrs but the team only lasted in the city for just one more year.

The franchise relocated to Baltimore and they were known as the Bullets. But after just ten seasons the team had to change their name again, this time they were known as the Capital Bullets. It was done because the team moved to the Washington metropolitan area.

However, the name changes did not stop there as the team became the Washington Bullets in 1973. The Bullets lasted until 1997 when they became the Washington Wizards. Throughout the years, the franchise has made the playoffs 29 times during their history.

In 29 postseason appearances, the Wizards have made it to four NBA Finals but only won one in 1978. So, without further ado, here are the players who made it to the team’s all-time starting five.


Guard – John Wall

John Wall
John Wall

The only active player who made this list, John Wall has been with the Wizards since 2010 when he was drafted first overall. Wall has led the Wizards to the playoffs four times during his career, reaching the Conference Semifinals twice. He is already five-time All-Star and more selections are sure to come.

In the Wizards all-time leaderboards, Wall ranks fourth in points and minutes played, first in assists and steals, and fifth in three-pointers made. Injuries have plagued Wall during his career and there is always the looming possibility of a trade. Nevertheless, he is already an all-time great Wizard.

Honourable Mention: Earl Monroe

Before he became an all-time great with the New York Knicks, Earl “The Pearl” Monroe played the first four seasons of his career with the Baltimore Bullets.

Monroe won the 1968 Rookie of the Year Award, leading the team to three playoff appearances. He helped the Bullets make the 1971 NBA Finals but they got swept by the powerhouse Milwaukee Bucks in four games.

Guard – Gilbert Arenas

Gilbert Arenas
Gilbert Arenas

Responsible for the resurgence of the Wizards in the mid-2000s, Gilbert Arenas was a lethal scorer who torched the NBA during his prime. After two seasons with the Golden State Warriors, Arenas bet on himself and signed with the Wizards in 2003. He immediately made an impact, winning the Most Improved Player Award that season.

“Agent Zero” had his breakout season in 2005 and hit his three-year peak wherein he was an All-Star for three straight seasons. Arenas led the Wizards to the playoffs four times but they never got past the second round.

Knee injuries slowed down his career but he still ranks ninth in the team’s all-time scoring list. He also sits sixth in assists and first in three-pointers made.

Honourable Mention: Guard – Phil Chenier

Spending eight seasons with the Bullets, Phil Chenier was one of the premier shooting guards of the 1970s. He was a three-time All-Star and he made the All-NBA Second Team in 1975.

Chenier was an instrumental part of the team that won the NBA championship in 1978. For his contributions and accomplishments for the franchise, his No. 45 jersey was retired in 2018.

Forward – Gus Johnson

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The star of the franchise in the 1970s, Gus Johnson played nine seasons with Bullets. He was five-time All-Star who made it to the All-NBA Second Team four times. He was best known for his high-flying dunks and full-court passes but he was also great on defense. Johnson was named to the All-NBA Defensive First Team twice, in 1970 and 1971.

Johnson ranks sixth in the team’s all-time scoring list while also sitting third in minutes played and rebounds. His No. 25 jersey was retired in 1986, months after he was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer. Johnson died in 1987 at the age of 48 years old. He was posthumously inducted to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.

Honorable Mention: Antawn Jamison

A member of the 1998 NBA Draft, Antawn Jamison arrived in Washington in 2004 via trade. He was brought in as a secondary option behind Gilbert Arenas and they played well together. The duo led the Wizards to the playoffs four times. Jamison also realized his potential with the Wizards, being named an All-Star twice.

Forward – Elvin Hayes

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In 1972, the Washington Bullets acquire Elvin Hayes from Houston Rockets. The arrival of Hayes gave the Bullets a dynamic duo alongside Wes Unseld. Hayes was one of the best big men the league during the 1970s. He played nine seasons in Washington and he was an All-Star every year. He even made the All-NBA First Team three times.

With the duo of Hayes and Unseld, the Bullets reached the NBA Finals three times, winning one in 1978 by defeating the Seattle SuperSonics in seven games. Hayes also sits first in the team’s all-time scoring list, second in rebounds, third in steals, and first in blocks. His No. 11 jersey is hanging at the rafters of the Capital One Arena.

Honorable Mention: Forward- Chris Webber

Before he became a superstar in Sacramento, Chris Webber played for the Bullets for four seasons from 1994 to 1998. He led the team to their first postseason appearance in nine seasons in 1997, wherein he was also named an All-Star for the first time. Webber was traded to the Kings in 1998 and almost led them to the NBA Finals.

Center – Wes Unseld

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Arguably the greatest player in franchise history, Wes Unseld led the Bullets to four NBA Finals appearances, winning one in 1978. He was named Finals MVP and he still remains one of two players in NBA history to win the Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player Awards in the same season. Unseld achieved that feat in 1969.

Not known for his scoring, Unseld is one of the greatest rebounders and defenders of all time. He also possesses one of the best outlet passes in NBA history. Unseld ranks just third in scoring, first in rebounds, second in assists, and sixth in steals in the franchise leaderboards. His No. 41 jersey was retired by the franchise in 1981, the same year he retired.

Honorable Mention: Center – Walt Bellamy

Spending just four full seasons with the Wizards franchise, Walt Bellamy was franchise’s first superstar. Bellamy was named an All-Star in all of his seasons with the team. He also won the Rookie of the Year Award in 1962. Bellamy was inducted to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993.

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Edited by Abhinav Munshi
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